Rome If You Want To - A City Guide to The Eternal City
WHEN I WENT:
October, for 4 days. Every single day of the trip was about 23C/74F, with the sun shining down all day. I have also heard April is a really good time to visit too.
WHERE TO STAY:
Fabio Massimo Guest House in the Vatican City area. This was super affordable (about €80 per night) and within walking distance to everything we wanted to see/eat. It is also within walking distance to a bus that takes you straight to Fiumicino, if you are flying in or out of there.
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK:
Café Café – If you are in Rome on a Sunday, you have to check out their Sunday brunch. Brunch is €13 per person and the spread they have out is fair for this price. There is a selection of breads, vegetables, quiches, and salads available. The Coliseum is only a stone’s throw away so this is an excellent choice for a filling meal before visiting the Coliseum.
Panino Divino - Paninis here range from €5 to €6.50. For the quality of the food, and the amount you get, this is an absolute steal. The staff are A+ too.
Be.Re – One word: Trappizzino. These are the perfect size for when you need more than a snack, but not a whole meal. We ordered the Cacciatore Chicken to split. It was so good that we ended up also ordering The Beef Meatball in Tomato Sauce and the Double Cream. This is a nice spot to sit down (indoors or out) after a day of walking for a craft beer and a snack around Vatican City.
Antico Forno Roscioli – Every last thing we ate from here was amazing but the star of the show was the rice ball aka: Supplì. It was filled with cheese, tomato sauce, and obviously rice. I went back the next night just for the Supplì. Take your plate to Campo de' Fiori (a 2-minute walk away) and listen to the buskers while you eat.
Porto Fish & Chips – Before going to Rome it seemed like everyone told me I had to have seafood there. I grew up in Florida eating fresh seafood and still live by the coast so I wasn’t so sure what the big deal was. Go, and get the cacio e pepe di mare and you will see what the big deal was. Treat yourself to dessert here too – so worth it!
Birra e Sale - This treat is similar to Panino Divino. Paninis done right for cheap. They have a decent selection of craft beers to choose from too. I would recommend getting your food to go and taking it to Piazza Navona for some quality people watching which you eat your meal.
La Prezzemolina - We had the Diavola pizza (tomato, mozzarella, spicy salami, and chili peppers) and a ham and cheese calzone. It was all delicious but our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we could have done without the calzone. But it was worth it to let you know how good they both were! You won’t go wrong with either here.
Gelato Artigianale – Best gelato on the trip. Get the cannoli flavor if it is available. You will not be disappointed.
Brewdog- Go to Brewdog at night for a couple of pints and then go by the Coliseum to see it all lit up at night. I was told to go to the Coliseum at night by a few people and I am glad I did. It was stunning.
Barnum Café - Pints of craft beer here were about a fiver each. The vibe was definitely hipster but very relaxed. They even gave me us some delicious homemade chips/crisps!
WHAT TO DO:
Vatican/Sistine Chapel - The Vatican was astonishing. I would recommend purchasing a ticket beforehand if you plan to visit. I got them here. The queue for those holding tickets was insanely long so you can only imagine the queue for those who did not pre-purchase. I went on a Saturday so this could have caused more congestion. A weekday visit might not be as packed.
St. Peter’s Square/Basilica - I did not do St. Peter’s Basilica on our trip but it is definitely something I would like to do the next time I am in Rome. Even if you don't go into the Basilica, the Square is worth a visit.
Coliseum – Once again, I would suggest purchasing a ticket beforehand. If you visit on the first Sunday of the month there is free admission for the Coliseum for all visitors during the ordinary opening time. If you won’t be in Rome on the first Sunday of the month I got our tickets here. It cost €14 per person for both the Coliseum and the Roman Forum. The ticket I purchased was valid 2 days in a row from first use, for one entrance to the Coliseum and one for the Roman Forum. We went to the Coliseum around 1pm and we quickly made our way in. Once we were in we could see the queue forming outside, so early afternoon was the best time in my own experience to get in.
The Roman Forum – This is right next to the Coliseum and they can easily both be visited in one day. We did the Roman Forum right after the Coliseum, but to get the full experience of both I would suggest to do each on a separate day. The queue for the Roman Forum was unorganized and by the time we got in we were hot, tired, and annoyed. If I had to pick whether to do the Coliseum or the Roman Forum, I would choose the Coliseum. The Coliseum is breathtaking once you’re inside, and while the Roman Forum is also impressive you can see the Roman Forum from a little edge outside the perimeter for free. So, if you aren’t as bothered to go in and climb around the ruins I would encourage going this route.
The Pantheon - One of the few ‘must-see’ attractions you can get into for free in Rome. The Pantheon, like all the other architecture in Rome is spectacular. We walked right in and it wasn’t terribly crowded.
Trevi Fountain – SO CROWDED. I don’t know how anyone goes here and gets those pictures where it looks like no one else is around? I’ve seen so many of them but all my photos seem to have 328 people in them, at minimum. We stayed here long enough to throw in a coin and that was about it. It was stunning though so definitely plan to visit.
Spanish Steps- We somehow arrived at the top of the steps first so we had to walk down. The view from the bottom is much nicer and I wouldn’t bother walking up them unless you absolutely have the desire to do so.
Piazza Navona– Not gonna lie, out of the two squares I am recommending, I prefer Piazza Navona. The fountains are magnificent. The square is bigger, cleaner, and the overall atmosphere is just a tad more elegant than Campo de' Fiori. The Piazza Navona is in the historic center of Rome, just west of the Pantheon. So, go to the Pantheon and then enjoy some people watching in the Piazza Navona.
Campo de' Fiori – South of Piazza Navona you find Campo de' Fiori, where one of the most famous markets in Rome is held. We got to enjoy some great buskin here. While I do prefer Piazza Navona I think you get a bit more grit here. Plus, the Supplì at Antico Forno Roscioli are right around the corner so check out Campo de' Fiori if for no other reason than that. They also have an open-air market with plenty of food and knick-knacks. I got a spaghetti measurer here that I use all the time for only €2!
I loved Rome and would definitely go back for the food alone. Rome is the only city I have visited in Italy – where would you recommend next? I have heard good things about nearly everywhere! What was your fav? Or where is on your list?
I love to hear from you! If you have any specific questions about Rome, please let me know! You can leave me a comment below, send me a DM on Instagram, message me on Facebook or send me a tweet on Twitter and I will do my best to help! Don’t forget, you can follow me on Bloglovin’ too!
*all images original to Candid Alexandra